Barry Callebaut Sees Cocoa Price on Low Side of 12-Month Range

Cocoa prices will trade on the low side of the “well-settled range” of the past 12 months in the short term, according to Barry Callebaut AG, the world’s largest maker of bulk chocolate.

Average bean prices for the last 12 months were 20 percent lower than a year earlier, the Zurich-based company said today in an earnings presentation for the three months ended Nov. 30. Cocoa on NYSE Liffe in London ranged between 1,367 pounds ($2,194) a metric ton to 1,748 pounds in the past 12 months.

The global chocolate market grew by 1.1 percent in volume in the reporting period, the company said. While Western Europe’s market didn’t grow, the U.S. experienced a contraction of 1 percent, according to the presentation.

Higher cocoa butter prices relative to those of beans, or the so-called butter ratio, are creating “positive prospects” for the combined ratio in the second-half of the 2012-13 fiscal year, the company said. The combined ratio is the price of cocoa powder and the price of cocoa butter divided by that of beans. The combined ratio is used as a measure of grinding profitability.

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